Shyam Thakker’s energy is infectious—and, it seems, limitless. He’s a public school teacher, a dancer who’s performed all over — including Pistons halftime shows and Fox 2 News segments, and he’s built up a large and loyal following in his role as a dance and Zumba instructor at Lifetime Fitness.
Thakker cites his daughter Meera as his inspiration, someone who makes him want to be better at everything he does. And that’s exactly the kind of impact he’s hoping to have when it comes to his teaching, both in the classroom and at the gym. “My passion is inspiring others to better themselves, he says. “I love to motivate students and lead them to success and love helping adults live a healthy lifestyle.”
His passion for helping others extends beyond his teaching—he’s heavily involved in philanthropic work, running his own charity to support Detroit’s homeless and organizing school supply fundraisers for underprivileged students.
The Indian SCENE talked to Thakker to discuss his style and inspiration. The interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
Indian SCENE: What words would you use to best describe your style?
Shyam Thakker: Casual and comfortable.
IS: What do you want your style to say about you?
ST: Casual and comfortable, which to me means you like what you’re saying when no one is there. It says that I can be confident and can stand alone without the help or praise of others.
IS: What’s your favorite piece in your closet?
ST: Dryfit tops and hoodies.
IS: What is the one thing you never leave home without?
ST: My energy.
IS: Who is your style icon — Hollywood and Bollywood — and why?
ST: Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. “The Rock,” because I admire his motivation and fitness lifestyle. Bollywood, Salman Khan because I admire his personality and acting lifestyle. Plus, a lot of people say I kind of look like him!
IS: Where are your favorite places to shop?
ST: Express, sports shops like Nike, and I love shopping in England as well.
IS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
ST: Keep away from negative people and from people who will not add value to your life in any way or form.
IS: Who inspires you and why?
ST: My daughter Meera, because she made me become a better man and a better father. My parents Renuka and Pradip Thakker because they have done so much for me and gone through so much in life just to make sure I was able to succeed in life. And lastly, my sister Sima, who has always been there for me and has always supported me in every way.
IS: What do you enjoy doing with your family?
ST: I love travelling with my family and going on vacations. My favorite U.S. vacation is Miami and my favorite international destination is Dubai. I also love going to watch sporting events and concerts.
IS: What are your favorite dinner spots and activities in the metro-Detroit area?
ST: Szechuan China, Delhi Hut, Chai Lounge and Mexican Fiesta in Canton. Pistons, Lions and Tigers games for activities. I also love going to Grand Haven and Silver Lake sand dunes, as well as kayaking.